It is extremely practical to have a Dutch bank account while studying in the Netherlands. Unlike other countries, credit cards are not commonly accepted as payment, and all stores do accept the Dutch debit cards. Few students use cash as they can transfer money using bank apps with ease and they pay for groceries, cell phone subscription etc. with their debit card.
If you open a Dutch bank account, you will receive this debit card that allows you to pay in shops and vending machines, or that can be used for putting credit on your online account for the photocopiers/printers at the university (where you cannot pay in cash).
Opening a bank account can involve a rather lengthy procedure. Therefore it is strongly recommended to prepare for this by exploring the various options for opening a bank account before you come to the Netherlands, and to visit a bank office in Utrecht as soon as possible after your arrival.
General requirements for opening a Dutch bank account
There are generally three requirements for opening a Dutch bank account:
- You must have valid identification
- You must have a Dutch address where you will live during your stay
- You need a proof of enrolment at the university
- Banks may also ask for your ‘BSN’ number. This is a unique identification number assigned by the Dutch government, which you obtain when you register with the city. Some banks will open an account for you if you have do not yet have BSN on condition that you submit it to them later. (e.g. ING bank – see below) Banks usually only open a bank account if you stay in the Netherlands for at least one full semester (5 months).
There are several banks that offer the opportunity to open a Dutch bank account to internationals students. The following bank offices are situated at central locations in the city center of Utrecht:
ING Bank - Nachtegaalstraat 22-24 in Utrecht, closest to UCU, no BSN needed
ABN AMRO Bank – Neude 4 in Utrecht
You can find more information about these banks here.
Other money matters
Even if you intend to open a Dutch bank account you still need to have other means of payment at your disposal after your arrival as it could take a few weeks to get your bank account up and running. Therefore we strongly recommend that you bring:
- a credit card (Visa or Mastercard)
- a bank card that allows to use an ATM (Automated Teller Machine) in the Netherlands. Cirrus and Maestro are widely available here, but check with your bank to make sure.
- or cash in hand
If you are staying in the Netherlands for less than one year, you may have to pay fees to open a bank account. If you are only here for a short period of time, we recommend that you use your bank account from back home if at all possible.
Further information on opening a Dutch bank account can be found here.